The Roanoke Valley was carefully drawn in the 1990's to support Vic Thomas, Chip Woodrum and Dick Cranwell all having winnable seats in the General Assembly. When Republicans took control and redistricted in 2001, all the best Democratic precincts in Roanoke City were consolidated into one district with Woodrum and Cranwell as residents. Cranwell retired, and Woodrum and Thomas (who won a term in the neighboring 17th) followed him in 2003. Onzlee Ware then won this single Democratic open seat to represent most of the City of Roanoke and has held it since.
House District #11 (map here)
100% of the vote in Roanoke City
2012 Major Party Election Results
Barack Obama 20,637 (65.5%)
Mitt Romney 10,869 (34.5%)
Tim Kaine 21,151 (66.6%)
George Allen 10,627 (33.4%)
Andy Schmookler 16,329 (55.9%)
Bob Goodlatte 12,889 (44.1%)
Roanoke City has a large African American population and while there are a couple precincts that are over 90% minority, many neighborhoods are much more mixed. But if you take just the precincts that are majority minority in the City- all of which are in this district- Barack Obama won a 10,065-1,947 (83.8%) victory over Mitt Romney on election day. In all of the other Roanoke City precincts included in this district (which does not include the five city precincts that are GOP leaning in the neighboring 17th district)- Mitt Romney won a 8,922-8,836 (50.2%) victory.
In fact, if you assume about 90% of the African American vote citywide supported Obama (he won slightly above that in the strongly African American precincts)- and match that data to census data by precinct demographics, it looks like Mitt Romney won about a 64%-36% victory among white votes in the City limits of Roanoke. That number was above 50% for Democrats as recently as Al Gore- and shows that the white Democratic vote in southwest Virginia that is declining in rural precincts is also declining in some urban areas- its just harder to see without doing some math because there is more diversity in the urban areas.
Tim Kaine ran slightly behind Barack Obama in the majority-minority precincts, while running a couple points above Obama in the other precincts- giving him a victory of 21,151-10,627 (66.6%) over George Allen here- a 1.1% net crossover from the Presidential race.
There was a huge fall off in voters in the Congressional race here- a little over 10% of the voters in the Presidential race chose not to cast ballots for U.S. Congress. With the remaining vote, Andy Schmookler was still able to defeat Bob Goodlatte here by a 16,329-12,889 (55.9%) vote. That 9.6% crossover to Goodlatte from the Presidential race is a combination of the Democrats not voting in this race, and the 2,020 net votes that Goodlatte won that were not for Mitt Romney.
Onzlee Ware has no problem winning general elections here. Democratic primaries on the other hand are notoriously unpredictable in Roanoke City, where various factions are in constant states of battle for control. Either way though, this seat will remain Democratic for this entire decade baring something really bizarre happening.
Previous Districts Covered
House District #1- Terry Kilgore (Utah)
House District #2- Mark Dudenhefer (Delaware)
House District #3- Will Morefield (Utah)
House District #4- Joe Johnson (Wyoming)
House District #5- Israel O'Quinn (Wyoming)
House District #6- Anne Crockett-Stark (Oklahoma)
House District #7- Nick Rush (Kansas)
House District #8- Greg Habeeb (Arkansas)
House District #9- Charles Poindexter (West Virginia)
House District #10- Randy Minchew (North Carolina)
House District #12- Joseph Yost (Virginia)
House District #13- Bob Marshall (New Mexico)
House District #14- Danny Marshall (North Carolina)
House District #16- Don Merricks (Mississippi)
House District #28- Bill Howell (Florida)
House District #32- Tag Greason (New Hampshire)
House District #33- Joe May (Alaska)
House District #50- Jackson Miller (Michigan)
House District #51- Rich Anderson (Ohio)
House District #52- Luke Torian (Hawaii)
House District #87- David Ramadan (Washington)